Jan 20, 2010

An update, as well as some thoughts about healing surges.

So after an excellent two weekends of hosting and playing, I finally feel like I have something to talk about.  I actually had a draft written up on this topic, but was unable to connect all of the dots until now, so I'll just start over.

In the game I am currently running (hit lvl.8 at last session), I have been using a houserule allowing players to spend healing surges to do a limited number of additional things.  This was an extension of the Skill Challenge option that were developed at the Core Mechanic.  After seeing how he used powers as just that:  Power to be channelled in a (hopefully) useful manner, I was inspired to expand upon that.

In combat, healing surges have a very limited scope of useage.  A small subset of creatures have attacks that directly target them (yes undead, I'm looking at you), their only other real utility is to heal oneself.  Once by yourself, and once or twice more through the intervention of party members.  Potions come to mind, but are terribly limited in their power as well.  As an aside, does anyone every REALLY use healing potions in heroic tier?

Moving on, I decided to allow players to sacrifice healing surges to recharge a wide variety of different "things".  The list looks a little like this:

Encounter power - 2 surges
Daily power - 4 surges
Magic item power (Encounter) - 1 surge
Magic item power (Daily) - 3 surges
Action point - 3 surges
+2 bonus to any roll - 1 surge ea.

I'd like share what 10 sessions look like from the driver's seat.  Battles go much more smoothly.  We have rarely had an elite or solo encounter go on for long, and that was usually a function of high defenses, as the blows that landed were staggering.

Considering that healing surges recharge on a short rest (read - encounter based) frequency, I like to think of it as 4E overdrive :)  In practice, only one character ever actually nova's off every encounter.  It's the striker, he likes hurting things - go figure.  I still have a hard time getting players to pound out their encounter powers.  Aside from the warlock, most players still end the encounter with half of their surges intact.

I'm still evaluating it, but haven't had any real issues yet.  I would like to say that the encounter power, action point, daily power, sac 3 surges, daily combination is a straight up slayer of elites.  Seeing the look on the player's faces when they dump 45-80 points of damage and bloody an obviously bad-ass critter makes all the rules lawyering I have to endure worthwhile.

So how about you folks?  Any similar or otherwise noteworthy houserules you are using?  If I get enough decent ones :)  I'll follow up and run them all through the ringer. 

As an aside, I'm looking to run a valentines game using Nevermet Press's excellent The Desire.  I have some quibbles, but if this is indicative of their line, I'm all in.  Until next time, game well :)

Jan 8, 2010

Well then, that was certainly a fun little vacation...

Greetings, readers!  I know, long time no see and all that :)  Needless to say, for now, I'm back.  As previously stated, I got laid off from my cushy and supposedly safe government job.  After spenind the last week wallowing in self pity and "what now" bullshitology, I have reached an inner plateau of zen that has allowed me to come back and bore you all to tears with my RPG blathering.

Since we last spoke (of anything containing ANY relevance whatsoever) I was lamenting the state of affairs I had brought upon myself by ad-libbing my way through the PYRAMID OF SHADOWS.   Since then, the party made their choice, and chose to ally with the rather unsavory Gharash Veng to dispose of the dragon.

As leaving the dry-erase on the mat for long periods of time seems to cause unremoveable stains, I decided that it gets erased every time we wrap for the day - and is redrawn according to the events that occurred in the last game.  As a magical pseudo-quasi-pocket dimension, I decided that it periodically changes to reflect the power of the denizens within it.  As such, when they completed the first mission (kill, fetch and carry) for the beast, it's power was increased, and it's digs got bigger and more complex.  Simple, eh?

So they go blundering into a newly remodelled white dragon's lair, they immediately noticed that there was a large water element now.  Frozen, slushy water that gently lapped at the edges of the ice crusted stone walkways that crisscrossed over it.  In the rear, the dragon's horde - unprotected!  They wisely chose to allow Gharash and his thugs to go in first.

Yeah, you guessed it.  The Dragon was under the water :)  He surfaced and blasted the would be heroes with his icy breath, following it up with some good old fashioned flesh rending.  This theme would repeat itself throughout the battle.  The dragon would submerge, and a horde of ice-zombies would clamber up from the slush and attack (minions, anybody?)  This worked out well, and allowed me to stay a half step ahead of the party before they decided to go all "nova" on me and busted out with a half-dozen dailies to turn the tide.

In the end, they defeated the great beast, and claimed some awesome treasure in the process.  Special thanks to Asmor's Quartermaster for making the once tedious process smooth and simple.  So now, we left them gazing upon the headless body of Varyliss (sp?) and usure of what to do next.  Great stuff :)

Yes, that really is all I've been up to.  Wasted a ton of time going to union meetings, writing appeals and such, as well as just feeling useless and doing nothing.  I'm good now, but as you no doubt may have noticed, it's been tough trying to keep things running smoothly around here.  Tell me, dear and venerated readers, why do you come here?  What do you enjoy about this little nook here?  I'm genuinely curious, and want to re-connect with my readers, so I can start planning ahead.  With all this time I'll have on my hands in the immediate future, it would be a shame to let it go to waste.

As for the future, I am writing a pretty long critique of Nevermet presses "The Desire".  While it is late, I have been savoring it (both it's goods and bads) and will be espousing that in the next week.  Until then, game well and look around at what you have - and appreciate it for what it is :)