Well, long story short, I've had a few things tossed around in my brain. So I'm gonna share a few RPG ideas that I found to be particularly cool. Thursday comes round, I'm talking about how Firefly's pilot episode gave root to me thinking about initial RPG sessions. Today, though, I'm going to talk about a little something called Mouse Guard. I've not completely finished the rulebook yet, but at the moment I'm enthralled by the system. So I'll pass along an interesting idea from the RPG that you can apply to your own games...
What's Your Goal?
A major aspect of conflict in Mouse Guard is the idea of goals. In a game like D&D, you have one goal in combat: to beat the enemy. Sure, you may be fighting so as to bring about certain events, but it's typically "beat the enemy". In Mouse Guard, things aren't quite so direct. The rules state that you give a goal for the conflict, which can be many things. You could start an argument for the goal of "Keep the guard's mind distracted so my friend can bluff his way past." Then, if you win the conflict, you get your goal. If you lose, but deal damage to your opponent, they have to compromise: give you some of what you were trying to accomplish.
The one major change, then, you could do is to end fights when all members of one side are bloodied. The other side is then declared the victor. You look at goals. The victor's goals are accomplished. The loser's goals are accomplished according to how damaged the other side is; a good rule of thumb is to first count bloodied characters. You might also want to count how many healing surges have been used, or whatever mechanism. I haven't gotten a hard and fast rule yet. Then, the other side gets some of their goal, too, according to that.
Of course, D&D wasn't quite envisioned with combats where the stakes are anything less than life or death. And those will probably be frequent goals still. Nothing is impossible in the system, though, because it just takes a little practice and creative thought. This also allows you to introduce encounters that would be problematic to have, if they were encounters to the death. You can have the PCs fight characters who aren't outright wanting to kill them.
Really, too, this is already allowed for in the current rules. The fact that enemies are merely unconscious at 0 HP notes the presence of combat that isn't to the death. Combat that isn't about utterly beating up an opponent isn't far off. So, maybe try and suggest this idea to your GM in the next game, unless you are GM, perhaps. Set your Goals, and see how far they let you go.
- Good evening, afternoon, or whatever time it happens to be there, ladies and gents! I happen to be Andy, who happens to be a freelance web designer, musician, writer, and whatnot.Roman Catholic, student of tabletop gaming, and someday soon I'll have my own designs in the field!
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