April 19, 2012

Encounters on a Budget

I’m enamored with the idea of being able to customize an encounter by using a ‘budget’ of points, instead of cherry-picking creatures and stuff from a list. 

So for Vivid, encounters will be created using a budget of Threat and Reserve dice.  This budget is also the measure of reward the players can expect from winning the encounter, whether in Renown or treasure.

I’ve still to come up with exact formulas, but for now I’ll be working with this guideline:

  • Minor encounter: ~3 dice per player
  • Challenging encounter: 5-6 dice per player
  • Major encounter: 8-10 dice per player

Say I have 3 players, and I’m doing the climactic scene for the game: this means I get 3 x 10 = 30 dice to play with.

I can now divide this 30 dice between one or more Threats, and the rest is a Reserve I can spend to keep the encounter going/make it challenging. 

Let’s say we decide on the climactic encounter being a fight with a sorcerous giant (Dalaketnon/Raksasa in Hari Ragat).  Its Threat ratings are Giant 8, Sorcerer 5, and I’ve got 17 dice of Reserve.

Reserve is spent to a) absorb damage, and b) to fuel spells, special attacks, and the like.  With 17 in my Reserve pool, I can make this fight last quite a while.

For rewards, I take the same 30 dice and divide it as 21 Renown and 9 Wealth, so that each player gets 7 Renown and 3 Wealth. There’s extra Renown for being first to hit, and for being the one to deliver the finishing stroke. I could also ditch the Wealth and give all 30 dice as Renown, giving 10 per player.

And if for any reason I want the encounter to end sooner, or be easier for my players, I simply lower the budget – with corresponding, automatic adjustment in rewards.

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