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Best Mechanics to Steal from Non-D&D Games

Pseudoephedrine

RPG.net's Drug of Choice
Validated User
The adventure phase travel rules from The One Ring roleplaying game give specific roles to PCs during overland travel: navigator, scout, hunter, watch. Random encounters are based on or modified by PC checks for these roles. Something similar could be done for DnD campaigns. Ideally, roles should provide PCs with interesting choices during travel.
I've been using roles in D&D since 2011. Here's a write-up of them I did in 2013. These days I've also added the "Note-Taker" and "Monster Wrangler" roles. Here's how the roles fit into my overland travel procedure.
 

RLF

Active member
Validated User
Hello Friend, can you explain more about this system please?
Mouse Guard's system for modeling seasons and weather takes up a whole chapter, so consider this a bare bones summary.

The GM determines how many sessions each season will last, ranging from one to three sessions. There is an alternate system for triggering seasonal change based on how many times the GM brings weather into play. In either case, the seasons will inevitably turn.

Each season has a section describing the kinds of weather that can be expected, animal activity, conditions in the wilderness, and what the player characters can be expected to be doing. Mouse Guard is set in a temperate zone, so winters are long and the other seasons are short. Spring is a busy time, but rain and mud can bog things down. Summer is unhurried, but productive. Fall is another busy time as the harvest is brought in and preparations for the cold kick in. Everything shuts down during winter - player characters in Mouse Guard usually rest, recover, and use the time to practice and engage in role playing.

My main interest in adapting the system is to bring a little more verisimilitude to fantasy games. In a pre-industrial setting, the seasonal cycle determines when things happen. Summer was campaign season for military operations from the ancient to the medieval period. Adventurers would likely follow the same patterns - raiding dungeons and questing when weather permits and going to winter quarters before snow fall.

Modifying the system to reflect something changing the climate is relatively straightforward - just decrease the number of sessions that the warmer seasons last and lengthen the cooler seasons.
 

Bira

Registered User
Validated User
Would you be willing to summarize? As someone who hates the AC and HP system of D&D, I love seeing workable variants. It's one reason I'm so enamored with M&M's method.
Let me try to give you a less terse summary than the one that was already posted here. Calling all of the different things "HP" feels a bit incorrect because I feel the concepts behind them matter.

Okay, so characters and monsters in Dragon Heresy don't have a single HP score. They have Vigor and Wounds, which is something other systems have done in the past, but I like the way this one does it specifically.

Vigor and Wounds are not abstract at all. Vigor is your ability to defend yourself and avoid actual harm. You don't "take Vigor damage", you spend Vigor to avoid real damage, usually on a 1:1 basis. It represents your attempts to dodge, parry, or block an attack that would otherwise have hit you. Vigor is determined pretty much like HP in standard D&D, with hit dice that increase by level.

Nothing you spend Vigor to negate is ever considered to have touched you. So things like poison from a spider or energy drain from a wight would not trigger on an attack you negate with Vigor. IIRC you can't choose to partly negate an attack, and that only happens when its damage is larger than your current Vigor.

Wounds are determined based on your Strength, Constitution and size. These are your meat points. Damage you fail to defend against goes here and can kill you, and will impair you in other ways long before that. The flip side of poison and other things not affecting you when you spend Vigor is that their damage always goes to your Wounds.

AC is split into two scores, a "Threat DC" and a "Hit DC". The Threat DC is fairly low, and something that beats it will threaten to hit you unless you spend Vigor to avoid it. An attack that beats the much higher Hit DC bypasses all of your usual defenses and goes to your Wounds. You can still employ a "frantic defense" in these cases, which spends your bonus action and allows you to spend Vigor equal to double the rolled damage from the attack. Certain attacks like arrows and ranged attack spells are considered "swift" and require a frantic defense unless you have a shield. Shields are also the only piece of equipment that increases your Threat and Hit DCs.

Armor provides damage reduction, but it only applies to Wounds. You do have the option of not attempting to defend against an attack and rely on your armor to stop it, which is something of a gamble.

Edit: There's also a grappling system that is similar to regular combat and deals in Control Points, but that's a separate thing from the system I described above.
 

Kuildeous

Registered User
Validated User
Thanks very much, B Bira . This sounds like it does address many of the problems I have with D&D's AC and HP system. I assume striking from surprise and similar tactics would disallow the use of Vigor as well?
 

Bira

Registered User
Validated User
Yup. They might allow a frantic defense depending on the situation, but generally a sneak-attacking rogue striking from surprise is very bad news.
 

LordofKhyber

Registered User
Validated User
Let me try to give you a less terse summary than the one that was already posted here. Calling all of the different things "HP" feels a bit incorrect because I feel the concepts behind them matter.

Okay, so characters and monsters in Dragon Heresy don't have a single HP score. They have Vigor and Wounds, which is something other systems have done in the past, but I like the way this one does it specifically.

Vigor and Wounds are not abstract at all. Vigor is your ability to defend yourself and avoid actual harm. You don't "take Vigor damage", you spend Vigor to avoid real damage, usually on a 1:1 basis. It represents your attempts to dodge, parry, or block an attack that would otherwise have hit you. Vigor is determined pretty much like HP in standard D&D, with hit dice that increase by level.

Nothing you spend Vigor to negate is ever considered to have touched you. So things like poison from a spider or energy drain from a wight would not trigger on an attack you negate with Vigor. IIRC you can't choose to partly negate an attack, and that only happens when its damage is larger than your current Vigor.

Wounds are determined based on your Strength, Constitution and size. These are your meat points. Damage you fail to defend against goes here and can kill you, and will impair you in other ways long before that. The flip side of poison and other things not affecting you when you spend Vigor is that their damage always goes to your Wounds.

AC is split into two scores, a "Threat DC" and a "Hit DC". The Threat DC is fairly low, and something that beats it will threaten to hit you unless you spend Vigor to avoid it. An attack that beats the much higher Hit DC bypasses all of your usual defenses and goes to your Wounds. You can still employ a "frantic defense" in these cases, which spends your bonus action and allows you to spend Vigor equal to double the rolled damage from the attack. Certain attacks like arrows and ranged attack spells are considered "swift" and require a frantic defense unless you have a shield. Shields are also the only piece of equipment that increases your Threat and Hit DCs.

Armor provides damage reduction, but it only applies to Wounds. You do have the option of not attempting to defend against an attack and rely on your armor to stop it, which is something of a gamble.

Edit: There's also a grappling system that is similar to regular combat and deals in Control Points, but that's a separate thing from the system I described above.
Fr fr that sounds like a really cool system
 

Litpho

Wandering stranger
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Blades in the Dark has a "Devil's Bargain" mechanic. You get an extra die towards your roll to resolve a skill contest, but prior to rolling you work out with the GM some sort of negative in exchange for it (only if the roll fails).
Actually, no. A consequence results if the roll fails. The Devil's Bargain will go off whether you succeed or not... if you agree to it. Which to me makes it far more interesting. Because you are buying a bigger chance of victory and at the same time you taint it, rather than "well, this is desperate, so if we fail, we fail big" which would result if success would wipe out the bargain
Advantage/Disadvantage: now in nearly all new RPG's since it's mainstream introduction with 5E and with good reason. Reducing modifiers/math is always good :)
The implementation as popularized by 5E is, if copied, mostly used for systems that use a single die randomizer. Dice pool games don't quite get the same benefit from that exact mechanic.
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
Validated User
I steal heavily from 13th Age when running D&D. Most of the best stuff to steal has been mentioned.

I use a Torchbearer-style system for Inspiration. In order to spend Inspiration, a player must be able to explicitly tie it to one of their Ideals, Bonds, Traits, or Flaws. They've essentially got to read that part of their character sheet and make a brief case for it. To regain Inspiration, they must accept Disadvantage on a roll (or give an enemy Advantage) in the same way: show us how one of your RP traits hinders you (or gives your enemy a temporary advantage.

This system shifts the burden of tracking Inspiration on the players, where I think it should be, and it reinforces and strengthens the portrayal of the characters.
That seems a lot like re-inventing Fate Aspects. :)
 

Two Hours to Doom

Strangelove'n
Validated User
I think I prefer the more cinematic 1 hit 1 kill cinematic method for mooks, but to each his own. You fireball hit 12 mooks. They're dead. yay!It does get cumbersome whenn you're talking about unit sized conflict and up of course,
I’m thinking about having a Mook rule that works like Turn Undead. Scale it with fighter-type classes the best at it.
 

Knaight

Registered User
Validated User
The implementation as popularized by 5E is, if copied, mostly used for systems that use a single die randomizer. Dice pool games don't quite get the same benefit from that exact mechanic.
It's been in multi-die games for ages. Advantage is just a specific implementation of roll and keep.
 
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